Social Savvy #3: Your Emotional Disconnects
Welcome to the third episode in the series. Here I’ll aim to give a brief overview into the evolution of humans so as to give a deeper understanding of what our natural tendencies are and why they are this way and then tie that in with how it can contribute to improving your overall social game.
So let’s rewind about 200,000 years and take a look at the way man was living. To give a brief picture it probably looked like something similar to the tribes you see in the rain forest in South America. I can picture a small community of people working together, I can picture hunters in the group and gatherers, I can picture women in the group with children doing work at home, and then going behind the scenes I can picture some form of hierarchy amongst the people. Maybe a chief or even council type situation.
How are we different now? Well our brains a for the most part the same. Our instincts and emotions are the same at least. We can agree that technology has evolved much much faster than the human brain.
So the world around us has moved forward but for the most part our brains have remained best suited to the environment back then.
So what are the implications of this?
Well for one we tend to adhere to the same rules as we would’ve back then. When it comes to social rules, we tend to be the same. Back then a tribe would consist of about 135–150 people and that is the amount of people we evolved to be familiar with. You will notice now that even though friends and people are more readily available, it starts getting difficult to remember people once you get up to that number.
There are also implications for how we respond to our environment and people. We, again, respond the same as we would back then even though we live in a completely different society.
The main emotions I want to talk about are fear, anger, happiness and envy. These are some of the strongest emotions we feel and when activated can lead us to do extreme things.
Fear is probably the one men deal with the most. Or what I should say, now, misplaced fear. In fact all of the emotions I mentioned just now you can now consider misplaced a lot of the time.
Lets look at some examples.
This misplaced fear creeps up generally when it comes to putting yourself out there. This includes, approaching women, giving presentations or going to parties where you don’t really know people there.
So, what is this fear and where does it come from?
The primary evolutionary theory is that the fear comes from the fact that while we live in a modern, abundant society, the bigger parts of our brain unfortunately don’t know this. The bigger parts of our brain believe that we are still living in a tribe of 135–150 people. The implications of that is if you put yourself “out there” among such a small group of people, and fail or make a fool of yourself, you are essentially done. Your reputation is shot.
Worst case scenario you are banished from the village which would no doubt lead to death. Best case scenario is you become one of the “normal guys” in the tribe and you end up possibly with a “normal mate” or, more likely, a woman lower than what you want.
The fear is justified, but it’s just outdated.
It’s the reason people place public speaking as the biggest fear after death. Humans value social recognition and connection to such a high degree that being banished or seen as a fool is 2nd to actual dying.
If you think about the other emotions like envy, anger, pride, misplaced happiness.
It’s the same concept. You feel anger because you believe things are scarce. You want what other people want. You think they have it, therefore you can’t have it, almost like the guy took the last cookie out of the jar.
I remember walking out of nightclub once and seeing an overweight guy walking out with a complete stunner of a girl and I felt envious of him. I thought I was better than him. Cooler, funnier, more handsome etc. Was I? It doesn’t matter. He’d pulled the girl. You can’t be considered competition if you aren’t even in a race, or worse you’re a spectator.
The envy or anger people feel in these situations comes from a “scarcity mindset”. Remember the 135–150 people you need to impress? How many of those are women are of an age that you really want to be with? 5–10? What if there are 15–20 cooler, bigger, stronger, more intelligent guys than you in the tribe? Then someone who isn’t even in that group pulls one of the best women in the group. How would you feel? This is your group! Possibly, your life-long community or tribe, and there you are, way down the at the lower rungs of the social ladder
We now live in a world with 7.4 billion people. Again, the bigger primitive part of the brain aren’t aware of this. How can it be? It hasn’t evolved much in 200,000 years. It doesn’t have eyes looking out into the world.
However our neocortex does. We are able to look out at the world and see the abundance we have. But getting the parts of your brain to communicate isn’t as easy as it sounds.
So how do you go about doing it?
Our brains are habitual so when it comes to changing the way you live your life, a concerted effort and use of willpower is needed for roughly between 35 and 66 days (There are different theories). That means that if you are able to continue doing something for this length of time, it will become, essentially, a habit.
This applies to the way you think as well. When I first started reading about evolutionary psychology, I found that over the course of 1–2 months I was a lot more at ease in any situation. I understood people, I understood why people did things and what people responded to. Before that I would sometimes feel intimidated in areas that had a lot of people, like clubbing areas with large amounts of men and women out to have fun.
So there is a mental rewiring that should occur under the surface, which will give you a degree of comfort. The term knowledge is power, may be a bit cliché, but it does apply here. If you have knowledge of people, you will become a lot more comfortable around people. You will have a raised state of awareness.
It sounds simple, but the amount of people who actually get out there and learn about “people” is surprisingly low. People tend to just accept things and create theories based on what they think, when actually there aren’t that many things that haven’t actually been explained by scientists. From the way we interact, to our personalty types, even to why parts of the body are shaped the way they are.
If you can understand the emotions that are holding you back, only then can you start to harness them. You can start to steer the elephant. Thats a metaphor used by Jonathan Haidt in the book, He says our conscious mind is like a rider and our unconscious mind is like an elephant, and most people just allow the elephant to run free uncontrolled and creating destruction in its path.
It’s only after you understand the elephant can you begin to steer it. When this happens those negative emotions will drop drastically and be less of a hinderance. You’ll notice yourself being less effected by your surroundings, which means you can hold your frame easier. This will cause your approach anxiety or anxiety of putting yourself out there in general to subside as you realize that even if you should embarrass yourself within a group of people to unprecedented levels, there are still millions and millions of people out there for you to meet.
You will never be shunned by a group and left to fend for yourself in the wilderness against sabertooth tigers. A rejection from a women merely becomes something that takes you 3 minutes to forget about.
If I want you to take anything away from this series its that you walk away with a heightened awareness over whats going on in your brain. In fact, if this is all new to you, you may actually be feeling it already. Most people have no idea about this stuff.
I hear people all the time saying “I’m good at psychology” and all it is is they think their gut feeling is pretty good.
But what is that gut feeling? Instincts built purely for your survival and not even necessarily for survival in this technological era?
They think its all deep and complicated, when a lot of things can be explained pretty well in layman terms. Things that will drastically raise your awareness.
So, the takeaway from this episode is, again, a foundation builder. I want you to think about a time you felt fear in a situation or anger or envy. Apply what you now know about your brain and the disconnect between your old brain and modern society. Does what I’ve said here make sense to your situation?
Have you been envious of other guys because you live with a scarcity mind frame, like there aren’t enough good women. Have you ever been afraid to approach and then asked yourself why?
How are you going to go about getting control of the elephant that is your unconscious mind? What small habits can you start working on creating now? Do you think you’ll do more approaches of women? or make more conversations when out and about with people in general?
Keep these notes handy and next time we’re going to switch things up a bit with talking about presence and state, so see you on the next one.
P.S: If you want to raise your awareness even more, and want to invest in yourself and in raising your awareness, there are people who talk about these ideas much more in depth then I ever can.
I’m just giving you what you need, that will aid you in the rest of this program. If you are interested. I recommend expanding your library, or investing in your brain with these.
Take a look at the reviews on Amazon and decide which one’s tickle your fancy. These are books I come back to multiple times a year, and something i’ll never feel regretful about owning.
See you on the next episode!